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My family and I traveled to Berlin this past weekend so my son and I could skate the Berlin Inline Marathon on Saturday afternoon. It was a perfect day for a race…hovering around 70 degrees, sun shining. The race was in the afternoon, an 3:30 start which is unusual when it comes to marathons, skating or otherwise, as they usually start by 8:00am. Having the whole day free my family and I enjoyed walking around Berlin-Check Point Charlie, “The” Wall, the Berliner Fenserturm, etc. It really wasn’t like a race day that I was used to. With the casual “not really feeling like a race day” air about the day, as could be expected, we ended up running around like lunatics to get to get to the race on time. No water, no “emergency snack”, nothing. Days earlier I finished an article about what to bring on race day or a long training skate, and none of what I suggested to bring was in my backpack!
Training was another thing. As with most things, where passion become work, the less we find time to actually engage in the activity that we love. That is the case for me when it comes to skating anyway. In the last 6 moths I have spent hours and hours writing about skating, teaching skating, and coaching people to become skating instructors, that I haven’t spent enough time skating for myself So, to follow suit, I certainly didn’t skate enough miles prior to race day.
The group from Rollerblade that we were skating with said that we would be skating in the “party group” so I figured at the very least I could definitely hang with a party. Well…the party group, even for me who was not in the greatest long distance skating shape, found the party going a little too slow. In addition, I am a competitor. Plain and simple. It is very hard for me to “dog it” and getting passed during a race does not sit well with me. After a few miles we ended up picking up the pace and leaving the music and party people behind. This worked for a while but eventually I found myself working at max capacity. When my son and I came to the half-way point, I thought “you have got to be kidding!” My legs were already jelly and if I hit a crack the wrong way or needed to make a sudden move or change of direction, that I would be down for sure.
Luckily, balance was with me as I managed to negotiate the race, jelly legged and all without a fall. Made it safely to the end and skated a 2:01. Certainly not my best time. Managed to skate the first and second half of the race at the exact same pace-at least I am consistent! I am certain that concentrating on my form and breath, especially the last 6-8 miles is what got me through. While I know that I was not in the cardiovascular shape that I could have been in, I know that by keeping my focus on the connecting the movement with the breath, that I was able to maintain an even, albeit, exhausted stride throughout the race. There is something to keeping the awareness on the breath and stride. It kept me in the moment and allowed me to put one skate ahead of the other when I wasn’t sure that I could. For me, that is the true definition of Mobile Yoga. At least I followed my own advice here!
So for next year’s marathon I will do my best to do more skating and less talking and writing about skating. In short, I will practice what I preach and put my skates where my mouth is!